Our moral fabric is wearing thin

There is little hope unless we learn to embrace girl children and be afraid of the long arm of effective justice.

Each time I open the newspaper, I believe that some of us are trying to live by the axiom of Julius Ceaser’s “Veni, Vidi and Vici...” (I came, I saw, I conquered!) Unfortunately, the earlier warfare seems to have given way to a modern way of egocentricity.

You have a thwarted man stabbing a married woman in full public glare. You have a repeat offender who rapes a woman just for the sake of satisfying an itch. Small children are raped in places hitherto considered a ‘second home.’  People are willing to murder or molest with as much ease as they would to swat a fly.

Murder to rape to infidelity; the moral fabric is wearing thin and is built on the lines of me, me and me. The interests that the events unfurl die a natural death and no one remembers the instances except for the injured party and immediate family for whom everyday living would be a torture.

The impunity with which people perpetrate crime is simply shaking the foundation of a civilised society. Many people seem to have not learnt the value of being empathetic and if at all they place themselves anywhere it is emphatically in their own shoes. We continue to blame the victims, her parents, the government and the world at  large as blaming others is our national past time next only to watching cricket!

 But, what makes people feel like lord of all they survey? It is the basic attribute - selfishness. All of us are selfish some more than others but when selfishness borders on narcissism, then it is a cause of concern. This combined with lack of scruples can cause a lot of havoc on many people. The inability to accept a `no’ seems to be the very foundation on which, the whole edifice of crime seems to be built.

A ‘no’ can be of many kinds. No to using me, a no to the affection offered or a no to any kind of demands. The patriarchal society on which ours is shaped has always given the sons of our soil more leverage and this mistake is costing us dear. The skewed sex ration and preference for boys is adding to the woes.

The men are unable to see the girls or ladies around them as human beings and feel
that they are made solely for their own use and this is translated to action. This aspect of our society combined with the very vast economic and academic chasm is the root of this problem.

The entitlement syndrome and the feeling of instant gratification is not helping matters. It is almost like regressing to being a ‘two year old’ wanting an object and getting the same by any which means. 

Moral science was a subject that was taught it most schools in earlier times. It was a class to be endured then, but today, the value of the subject is brought home with great force.  Besides, such teaching in schools and religious places, the joint family system helped most of us to work out on our psychological and emotional upheavals.

Family values
Today, with the breakdown of family values combined with the loneliness brought forth by the advent of fast growing technology, the world is fast becoming a ‘bubble’ wherein the individual exists with his own morbid thoughts and fears. This is making people lonelier and leading to psychological and emotional weakness. Temperance, self-restraint, courtesy and kindness have all suddenly become taboo words. More and more people are coming with a blanket warning, ‘handle with care!’

To add to all the above and more, we have our very own archaic, sluggish and bureaucratic legal system that not only does nothing to nip these crimes in the bud but practically allows the culprits to bloom and thrive! How then do you explain the fact that a man who has been tried and acquitted for rape in 2011 and declared a ‘proclaimed offender’ is free enough to perpetrate crime after crime till 2014? How then do you explain that the person who was the most brutal in 2012, Nirbhaya’s rape case was sent to remand house just because he fell a few days short of 18 and was considered a juvenile?

How then do you explain the fact that the culprit threatens to insert a rod into the victim all because he knows that he can get away in the land of ours?  Each culprit and his family is aware of every loophole in our wonderful system that crimes continue to be perpetrated with little worry about repercussions.

Until we as a nation learn to accept and embrace girl children and learn to be afraid of the long arm of quick and effective justice, I think there is little hope for change. A worrying trend when we consider the inhumanness of it all.

(The writer teaches at the Manipal Academy of Banking)

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